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Author Topic: Where have all the Quality skilled Ham Ops Gone?  (Read 18484 times)
W1IT
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Posts: 174




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« on: August 11, 2014, 05:15:43 AM »


  Since I've been licensed 55 years and an Extra since 1964, I think I do have the breathe of hind sight to suggest, Amateur Radio has become a non skilled hobby for those in retirement.

I wish I didn't need say this and its been with considerable effort over the years, as recently as 12 ago, I began a University radio club, attempted to draw young, intelligent engineering students into the hobby. And my results were of those who the radio club did persuade , all have at ten years all gone dust, ever one. And of the ten or so, not one became interested sufficiently to progress beyond a tech plus license.

Ok, other evidence its a old farts pass time? Last year I set up a Boy Scout station in Vermont. Set the station by the door and began trying to attract interest. Yes, you guess it. We go passed by. Finally my partner spotted a Scout and asked if he wanted to speak to another Scout in the North East.
His response was, "   My Dad had one ( a radio)  Huh once and I used to talk to him in the cow fields." (Obviously the kid met CB)

So, you can see not only does HR not live up to FCC stated purposes and core purpose of.. it doesn't even have the members that are qualified enough to do any of its said goals.

But there are still a few high speed cw die hards who work 160 meters during Contests, I can respect. They are a dying and as each year advances, dying breed.
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K2GWK
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 06:15:57 AM »

I don't know who you hang out with but some of the Hams I have befriended have made QSO's with the ISS, made 10GHz contacts across Long Island Sound, worked EME and one has designed and built his own SDR. If you base your measure of skill on the ability to send CW on 160 meters than probably none of them fit the bill but I can't think of a better bunch of guys I would rather have a QSO with.
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Guy
Lawn Guyland, New York

K2GWK Website
N3QE
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2014, 06:46:02 AM »

But there are still a few high speed cw die hards who work 160 meters during Contests, I can respect. They are a dying and as each year advances, dying breed.

I got licensed at age 10 so I had always thought I was "the young guy" if not the youngest. But that was a long time ago! Just a few months ago I was at a local club meeting and the club president mentioned a mailing list especially for young hams. I went to check it out... and it turns out I am now way too old to even think about joining!

You might be surprised... look at the WRTC contestant profiles. A lot of them are younger than me. Certainly the winners were! A common thread among the WRTC contestants... most were licensed as kids.

The most prolific 160 operator I know? He's younger than me! There's an ever-increasing category of operators who are both  "better than me" and "younger than me". As you and me get older, we just gotta accept that.
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WX7G
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2014, 06:51:00 AM »

Participation in CW contests increases every year. There are plenty of good CW ops still on the air.
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W1IT
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Posts: 174




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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2014, 07:49:07 AM »

Participation in CW contests increases every year. There are plenty of good CW ops still on the air.

Yes, I agree, and I suppose these folks may be narrow in their HR operation, but high in station performance and op skills.
I was so angry after the L Smith letter, I wanted to just dump it all. Took down my antenna and thought out Ebay.
But, you know one thing about HR for an old timer, it has roots to bone, and you will miss whatever years you have left if you just burn a bridge.
So, I'm think in winter, why not a top loaded (Crushcraft) short vertical for 160? Well, you see my mind plays games with me, but old timers who did over years develop their cw skills can survive, maybe not happily always, but to the end.
I don't hate all contests.
I proved my skills about four years ago running very inefficient antenna on 160, and popped off in three hours 35 states, including Colorado ! Wink
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N3QE
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 07:54:50 AM »

Amateur Radio has become a non skilled hobby for those in retirement.

I've been an operator for less time than you, but to be honest, the non-skilled retirees have always been a big contingent. Especially say if you get on the air in the mid-morning or the afternoon!

I remember when I was a kid, I would sometimes go prowling around the bands listening to operators. Obviously the novice segment had a lot of poor operators. But poor operators have always existed outside the novice segment as well and as I note above... in mid-day you are especially likely to be hearing the retirees.

Some of the retirees are also good operators! Even today the best operators really do "rise above" the rabble. That was true when I was getting started in radio 35 years ago too. I remember in particular - being exposed to a lot of crappy operating on the novice bands - tuning outside the novice bands and hearing an operator completely and obviously standing out way above the rest. He was W4KFC. I remember few calls from my childhood but he was truly top-notch and of course I could never forget this call. Today I know a number of other ops that are similarly good.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2014, 09:43:43 AM »

get on 900 MHz and listen to the tech questions answered in a language so technical I can't understand what they are saying. lots of young hams on the repeaters and invite some of those younger folks over and let them play 10 meters for a bit on your station, then they will get the obsession.
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N8YX
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2014, 09:55:47 AM »

They gravitated to smart phones. It's what the cool kids are doing these days.
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KB9UWU
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2014, 11:27:51 AM »


But there are still a few high speed cw die hards who work 160 meters during Contests, I can respect. They are a dying and as each year advances, dying breed.

You think the best CW ops are on 160 in a contest?  Very interesting Smiley
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G3RZP
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2014, 11:46:46 AM »

It depends on exactly what you mean  as 'Quality skilled ham Ops'.

There's contest ops, there's DXers (different skills needed to contesters), there's low band DXers (different skills again), there's the boat anchor operators, there's the EMCOM guys (different operating skills to the others although there could be some overlap),  there's ragchewers and there are those whose idea of working DX is a net (although I go along with the pin GW4BLE used to wear - and maybe still does - to hamfests which read "Lists are for LIDS"). Plus plenty of other styles of operators.

There are also technical discussions at times, although discussing with an Italian who had very poor English (but far better than my Italian!) about the applications and solutions of second order simultaneous equations as applied to Phase Locked Loops (I kid you not - I had a QSO where this happened!) really was pretty unsatisfactory for both parties......

My Italian is limited to 'una birra' or 'una grappa'......But G4CLF says that all one needs to know in any foreign language is "Two beers, please and my friend will pay!"
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N7RST
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2014, 12:28:05 PM »

Didn't know the community was "missing" any as I know of quite a number of highly skilled individuals out there (op, build design).....not sure where you are missing it....

QST has many articles from many Ops out there...enjoy reading about their "inventions"..
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2014, 07:27:41 PM »

I agree with the OP on one point.

1) it's almost impossible to get young people interested in Ham Radio and that's mainly because it's a very old technology that has been surpassed by the Internet and all the communication abilities it provides.

If ham radio operators were more friendly to new hams we might be growing faster, but unfortunately because of the degrading manor in which most new no code hams are treated by a few people the whole hobby is not very inviting.

As for CW that's never going to make a come back. As the older hams go SK the number of CW operators will dwindle with no new ones to take their place.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2014, 02:30:25 AM »

There seem to be a number of new hams taking up CW over here.

There aren't that many young amateurs - but it's arguable that there never were! The same point was being made in 1948.....
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K8AXW
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2014, 07:15:05 AM »

I agree with you Peter.  I check out the CW Forum here on eHam every day and I see that more and more are interested in learning and using CW. 

Are the CW ops losing ground?  No doubt.... but this predicted demise of CW is definitely premature.
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KS2G
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Posts: 440




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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2014, 10:19:56 AM »

... the whole hobby is not very inviting.

Is that why the number of license-holders is at an all-time high?
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